Final structural beam placed at HARBORcenter

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula is marking a milestone at HARBORcenter, Wednesday.

At 11 a.m, crews put the final structural beam into place atop the rink and parking garage, completing the structural construction phase of the project. HARBORcenter is the largest privately-funded construction project in Buffalo history.

PHOTO GALLERY | Take a look at the HARBORcenter on June 25

“It’s one of those things when you build the project schedule a year and a half ago, that’s one of the milestones you look to achieve,” said project superintendent Ryan Poropat.

It was a rough winter for such a project, so it’s a pretty big deal for the men and women who worked through the elements to keep the project on schedule to watch that beam raised to its spot. The first beam was placed on the top floor just over five months ago.

“They have been out here when there were 60-mile-an-hour winds and two blizzards and feet upon feet of snow. Those are the guys who made it happen. It’s a big deal. It’s a big morale boost. With the nicer weather we’ve got, it just signifies moving on to the next big phase of the job,” Poropat said.

The HARBORcenter is a $172 million project with two hockey rinks, which are already coming together. It will include a hotel, restaurant, athletic training center, parking ramp and a flagship Tim Horton’s Restaurant.

Youth and amateur hockey tournaments continue to sign onto the new facility. HARBORcenter president John Koelmel and Sabres Chief Development Officer Cliff Benson say there shouldn’t be a problem finishing by this fall, as expected.

“To be where we are today is nothing short of a tribute to the effort. Going forward, we’re now in a place where we can really move. So we really don’t see much of a problem going forward,” Benson said.

The next phases of the project will include the finer detail of the exterior, which you should start to see come together in the next couple weeks.

A Courtyard by Marriott opened during the spring inside what was once an empty state office building. Views from the new hotel show Canalside and the HARBORcenter property.

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